Newport Liberal Democrats have been distributing questionnaires in Caerleon which are underhand and deceptive. The mother of one of our ward members who lives in a sheltered complex for elderly people received a leaflet through the door using a widely recognised Labour print format and design – Neo Sans Font with red lettering. It in no way resembled the Liberal Democrats’ usual style. In other words it was designed to deceive.
The imprints which revealed that this was in fact a Liberal Democrat publication, and that recipients could unsubscribe from any further communication, were so small and in one case so obscured by a band of red ink, that many elderly people would have found it difficult to read them. The questionnaire, which is full of loaded questions encouraging recipients to criticise the council gives the impression from the headline,that it comes from “Newport’s Labour Council”. It asks, “How do you think Newport Labour are doing?” Questionnaires about services usually come from the corporate body, and not from a political group. An official council questionnaire would never ask questions about the performance of any particular political group.
It’s particularly disturbing that recipients are being asked to provide contact details such as email addresses and telephone numbers for texting. Presumably the Liberal Democrats are hoping that people will give them their details without realising who they are giving them to.
All this is in line with other examples recently, when the Lib Dems in Newport – after a certain period of time – merged what seemed to be genuine community Facebook petitions about the Campus closure and bin collections into their own specifically political Facebook pages. This was clearly designed to create the impression that it was the party which was attracting a large number of “likes” and registrations, rather than the cause itself. It also gave the Lib Dems the chance to build up a contact database in a thoroughly dishonest way.